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ABOUT US

OUR MISSION

KitchenTown champions innovation in all its forms so we can drive positive change in our food system from the ground up.

We play a critical role in the development, commercialization, and launch of impact driven and transformational food products.

We are actively building a global community of food entrepreneurs and innovators to support each other and create a new sustainable food system.

 

OUR APPROACH

Growing a food company is not like growing any other kind of company. The food space is filled with variables—from refrigerated distribution needs to seasonal ingredients to packaging ideas that no machine can do (yet)—and being in service of those emerging companies means we have to listen deeply, stay adaptable, and hit the ground running when our founders do. We’re a house of exhilarating, organized chaos. But that’s the energy of creating something new: it’s scrappy and inspired.

We bring structure and support to that chaos and help our founders harness and direct their energy towards improving our food system. We provide infrastructure and expert guidance, and the right tools at the right times. We tap our vast network of mentors and industry veterans to help guide the next generation of entrepreneurs, and give them space to guide each other too. At the end of the day, founders understand founders better than anyone, and leaning on each other is how some of them grow the most. 

So that’s what we do. We’ll help you ideate, create, and grow your company in the smartest way possible. And if there’s anything we don’t know or don’t have already, we’ll be the ones to find it for you. Every company that comes through KitchenTown enriches our community with the experience and knowledge that future founders can use. The world is changing quickly, and we’re here to help you feed it.

OUR TEAM

RUSTY SCHWARTZ

RUSTY SCHWARTZ

Founder & CEO

Rusty is a lifelong entrepreneur. With an extensive background in building companies, he understands the variables involved in startups. In 2014, he founded KitchenTown to help food entrepreneurs ideate, create and grow their business in the smartest way possible. He advocates for founders, cultivates relationships, and fosters partnerships that strengthen and inspire innovation for the next generation of food startups. Feed him kale, croissants, or crickets. He’s game.

NITIKA DHAMANKAR

NITIKA DHAMANKAR

Director of Product Innovation

Nitika is an accomplished food scientist who has worked across a variety of categories such as frozen, granola bars, high protein beverages, juices, baby food, and more.  She brings a wealth of experience to the team with companies like Plum Organics and Bolthouse Farms under her belt.  She loves anything with spice and will add chili to everything she eats. 

ANNA DERIVI-CASTELLANOS

ANNA DERIVI-CASTELLANOS

Director of Operations

Anna is an operations specialist with a background in food business entrepreneurship, restaurants, and natural food grocery. She helps early stage food startups tackle day-to-day challenges while keeping the KitchenTown facility running smoothly. She is passionate about all things related to food, including sustainable agriculture and food justice.  She loves fruit, especially piel de sapo melon.

GRACE COLLERY

GRACE COLLERY

Research & Partnerships Manager

Grace oversees the Brand Partnerships program at KitchenTown, cultivating meaningful connections and strategic partnerships for food startups. She has an extensive background in academic and professional research while also being passionate about creating sustainable and equitable food systems.  Grace has helped spearhead KitchenTown’s effort to reduce food waste and become a green business. Her favorite food is bread.

ERIC MINNICH

ERIC MINNICH

Culinary Director

Eric joins the KitchenTown team with many years experience in the culinary field. Born and raised in the Bay Area he has worked in restaurants since he was 15 years old and received his culinary and nutrition education from Johnson & Wales. He has worked for some of the most respected chefs in the bay area including Traci des Jardins and Micheal Mina. Eric is the Executive Chef at The Commissary, in San Francisco. Previously, he worked at the Michelin starred restaurant Madera in Menlo Park. Eric resides in Oakland where you can find him training in Jiu Jitsu and gardening.

SAMANTHA HAGERBAUMER

SAMANTHA HAGERBAUMER

Head of Business Development

With a long history of building fruitful collaborations with partners from around the world, Sam is responsible for developing and nurturing KitchenTown’s partnerships with leading food and beverage companies. Sam’s interest in food stems from the impact the food system makes on the health of our planet and the people on it. When Sam’s not trying out the latest food trend, she can be found doing yoga or training for a triathlon.

Maricruz aguilar

Maricruz aguilar

Office Manager

Maricruz is a jane of all trades.  She has supported many different functions of a food business including production, product inventory control, customer service, and quality assurance.  She owns all administrative duties in the office and feeds people delicious food at all hours of the day. 

RICK BOLAND

RICK BOLAND

Chief Financial Officer

Rick has over 30 years of senior level executive experience providing financial and operational leadership and consulting advice to companies across a variety of industries.  He has served as CFO of 17 companies on a full-time or consulting basis over the past 25 years. He has also co-founded several businesses and served in CEO and other executive leadership roles. Rickcurrently serves on the Board of Directors and Board of Advisors for several companies and non-profit organizations.

DANNY FLORES

DANNY FLORES

Facilities Manager

Danny is an experienced facilities manager with technical expertise in sanitation.  He has worked across a variety of industries, can fix anything, and is a passionate long-distance cycling enthusiast.     

ADDRESS

1007 Howard Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94401

PHONE

650-458-8080

©2018 KitchenTown